Socioeconomic position and education in patients with coeliac disease

Dig Liver Dis. 2012 Jun;44(6):471-6. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


Background and aim: Socioeconomic position and education are strongly associated with several chronic diseases, but their relation to coeliac disease is unclear. We examined educational level and socioeconomic position in patients with coeliac disease.

Methods: We identified 29,096 patients with coeliac disease through biopsy reports (defined as Marsh 3: villous atrophy) from all Swedish pathology departments (n=28). Age- and sex-matched controls were randomly sampled from the Swedish Total Population Register (n=145,090). Data on level of education and socioeconomic position were obtained from the Swedish Education Register and the Occupational Register. We calculated odds ratios for the risk of having coeliac disease based on socioeconomic position according to the European Socioeconomic Classification (9 levels) and education.

Results: Compared to individuals with high socioeconomic position (level 1 of 9) coeliac disease was less common in the lowest socioeconomic stratum (routine occupations=level 9 of 9: adjusted odds ratio=0.89; 95% confidence interval=0.84-0.94) but not less common in individuals with moderately low socioeconomic position: (level 7/9: adjusted odds ratio=0.96; 95% confidence interval=0.91-1.02; and level 8/9: adjusted odds ratio=0.99; 95% confidence interval=0.93-1.05). Coeliac disease was not associated with educational level.

Conclusions: In conclusion, diagnosed coeliac disease was slightly less common in individuals with low socioeconomic position but not associated with educational level. Coeliac disease may be unrecognised in individuals of low socioeconomic position.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Celiac Disease / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult